Aggie’s life has been marked by roller coaster beginnings and endings, gains followed by loss and losses followed by gains..
After graduating from high school, Aggie went to STCC for training to become a physical therapist assistant. Taking time out to raise her daughter she had odd jobs at Dunkin Donuts working the midnight shift making donuts to working at a retail store going from sales clerk to store manager. Then in the late 70s she started working at Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance company here in Greenfield. Again, she started at an entry level job as a claims examiner and proceeded to regional manager in the Group Medical department. After downsizing she decided to return to physical therapy and won the right to practice again after such a long absence. She was instrumental in developing the rehab program at Buckley Nursing Home making it a preferred program for leading orthopedics in Greenfield. Again, life intervened and Medicare changed the way they reimbursed services and the field collapsed. She decided to return to school and attended Mt. Holyoke College for a year and a half majoring in philosophy until her scholarship ran out. She found out that if she was an employee at UMASS, she could go to school while she worked. So she transferred to UMASS and enrolled in the University Without Walls program in which a student can design their own course of study. There she completed her BS in the "philosophy of work". Enjoying the academic environment, she has remained working in the Psychology Department. There she is responsible for running the Human Subjects Program, manages their website and does a varied number of responsibilities. She acknowledges that this job is not as challenging as some jobs she has had but laughingly says, "This job lets me do all the other things I love outside of here." And one of those things is the Stone Soup Cafe.
Her education, career and even marriage relationships have taught her that nothing in life is truly eternal except the Love that one gets from actualizing oneself in actions that harmonize with the Soul. She has been a lifelong seeker of ways to do that and has found Stone Soup Café to be a place where she gets to use her gifts, share Spirit’s love with others and make a difference in helping to create a warm, efficient “flow” to the experience of being in an intentionally welcoming community, a family of sorts.
Joy, for Aggie, comes from watching herself interact with others, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and gifts. “Meeting someone’s eyes with a smile feels wonderful,” says Aggie. “Stone Soup Café gives me and others a chance to be real with each other and with people who you might not meet otherwise. The Spirit at the Café is something that just lights up. It’s fragile – you can’t hold it too tight or too loose.”
Aggie first came to the café as a guest, then offered to create posters and the menus for each week. Then she advanced to setting up the lobby, followed by helping to set up tables, then becoming morning Front of House shift leader. She has since created a tech side to the Café operations that makes it easier for volunteers to sign up for shifts and also that offers systemic procedures to keep track of supplies and ongoing ideas to improve the Café experience.
As our new Café Manager, Aggie now oversees the full operation of several shifts, volunteer recruitment, and coordination of the Front of House with the Kitchen.
We are blessed and grateful to have Aggie volunteering her time in these ways for Stone Soup Café.
By Becca King